We have examined the effect of global transient cerebral ischemia, evoked in rat by 10 min of cardiac arrest, upon the changes in the cellular expression of two nerve growth factor (NGF) receptors (TrkA and p75) in the hippocampus. We have used immunocytochemical procedures, including a quantitative analysis of staining, along with some quantitative morphological analyses. We have found, under ischemic conditions, a decrease of TrkA immunoreactivity in degenerating CA1 pyramidal neurons and in neuropil. On the other hand, a strong, ischemia-induced up-regulation of TrkA and p75 immunoreactivity was observed in the majority of reactive astroglia population in the adjacent CA1 hippocampal region. The colocalization of the two receptors in the same reactive astroglial cells was evidenced by double immunostaining and further supported by quantitative morphological analysis of TrkA and p75 immunoreactive glial cells. Our data implicate the involvement of NGF receptors in the postischemic regulation of astrocytic function; however, the lack of NGF receptor expression on some astrocytes suggests heterogeneity of astroglia population. Our results also indicate that the lack of neuroprotective action of astroglial NGF induced in the ischemic hippocampus [J Neurosci Res 41 (1995) 684; Acta Neurobiol Exp 57 (1997) 31; Neuroscience 91 (1999) 1027] is not caused by a paucity of NGF receptors but may rather be due to the counteraction of some proinflammatory substances, released simultaneously by glia cells. On the other hand, the up-regulated astroglial TrkA receptor may be an important target for exogenous NGF, which, as previously described [J Neurosci 11 (1991) 2914; Neurosci Lett 141 (1992) 161], exerts a neuroprotective effect in ischemia.